Mars moved into Aries – a landscape he rules – on June 28th for a very extended stay in his home realm. Usually Mars spends an average of 2 months in a sign, but Mars stations retrograde on September 9th. Mars doesn’t leave Aries, to enter Taurus, until January 6th 2021 – Mars is in Aries for 6 months.
Mars retrograde is a fairly rare occurence – the least frequent retrograde of all the planets – happening around every two years and two months. The last Mars retrograde was from June 26th 2018 (9 Aquarius) to August 27th 2018 (28 Capricorn).
In Greek mythology Mars was Ares, the God of War. Mars is assertive, courageous and competitive, he illustrates our own motivations – what ignites us and how we take action. During Mars retrograde the red planet is closer to earth, smouldering and eye-catching. A proximity that both correlates with, and brings a visible reminder, that our actions – past and present – are surfacing in potent ways.
In traditional astrology Mars – along with Saturn – is considered a malefic planet, an energy that can be associated with harm and destruction. Mars can be displayed in ruthless, violent and cruel behaviour, but equally – and importantly – Mars can be beneficial. Mars can also fight to protect and defend – the spiritual warrior – Mars is essential to be able to harness strength, endurance and inspire brave, heroic, acts.
During Mars retrograde, ourselves or those around us may be extra sensitive to frustrations. Anger or hostility may erupt easily. Feelings of love or hate could be especially potent. For some, the imperative to take action may be forceful, experienced as urgent, but others may feel physically tired and weary, take care, as this can also coincide with accidents or health problems potentially arising.
Simultaneously, past actions may materialise, catch up with us somehow or another, perhaps leading us to reflect on what we could, or should have, done differently.
Essentially, the battle will be internal as well as external. Mars retrograde – especially if it touches a natal planet or angle – presents us with an opportunity to work out what’s holding us back and bring about a shift in our awareness about the effect of our actions. This insight can help us find a fuller sense of our own power, our inner warrior, and lead us to make favourable changes and adjustments
During Mars retrograde, keep in mind we are all experiencing this influence, so try and avoid – as far as possible – any knee-jerk reactions to circumstances, it is best to pause, and consider our motives and actions first. Traditionally, Mars retrograde is not the time to start a battle, as you are likely to be defeated.
Mars Retrograde Dates
Pre-shadow phase – Mars at 15 16′ Aries on July 25th enters the retrograde zone
Mars stations retrograde – at 28 08′ Aries on September 9th ~ Conjunct Fixed Stars AlPherg 27 05′, Vertex 28 07′ & Alrischa 29 39′
Sun Opposite Mars – at 21 04′ Libra/Aries on October 13th
Mars stations direct – at 15 16′ Aries on November 14th – Conjunct Fixed Star Alpheratz 14 34′
Post-shadow phase – Mars at 28 08′ Aries on January 2nd 2021 leaves the retrograde zone
Chart ~ Mars Stations Retrograde
Of Note – is that Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto are all currently in Capricorn, a trio whose amalgamated influence signifies and aligns with the tumultuous events of 2020. Saturn will enter Aquarius on December 17th and Jupiter on December 19th, and Mars will square all of them three times.
- Mars square Jupiter – August 4th ~ October 19th ~ January 23rd (with Mars in Taurus & Jupiter in Aquarius)
- Mars square Saturn – August 24th ~ September 29th ~ January 13th 2021 (with Mars in Taurus & Saturn in Aquarius)
- Mars square Pluto – August 13th ~ October 9th ~ December 23rd
2020 is a year that has marked all of us. Indelibly altered the world. Significantly, in the sky, 2020 marks the end of three important planetary cycles, and the start of new ones. The planetary cycles of the slower moving planets and the phase they are in, determine the nuances of life, the unfolding story and possible themes. Old Cycles are ending as the planets move towards conjunction – at the conjunction new ones begin.
At the Saturn-Pluto conjunction on January 12th, at 22 degrees Capricorn, a new Saturn-Pluto cycle (approx 33-38 years) began, in addition the Jupiter-Saturn (approx 20 years) and Jupiter-Pluto (approx 12 years) are also ending and beginning afresh.
The Jupiter-Saturn conjunction takes place on December 21st – Winter Solstice – at 0 degrees Aquarius. Jupiter-Pluto conjunctions occured on April 5th and June 30th, and the final one takes place on November 12th at – 22 degrees Capricorn – the degree of the Saturn-Pluto conjunction. Jupiter and Pluto make three exact conjuctions – a triple conjuction – which is quite rare, and happens when Jupiter is retrograde near Pluto, the last one was in 1955/56, the next one not until 2106/07.
Historically Saturn-Pluto aspects have aligned with the discovery and emergence of viruses, but significantly Jupiter conjunct Pluto (occuring 3 times in 2020) interconnected with Saturn-Pluto has links to pandemics. The Saturn-Pluto conjunction was exact on January 12th, and the first confirmed death from Covid-19 was in Wuhan, China on January 9th ~ Wikipedia
At the end of March – when Covid-19 was shutting down the world – Mars was in Capricorn, where he is exalted. Mars the red, fiery planet was conjuct Jupiter (March 20th at 22 48′ Capricorn), Pluto (March 23rd at 24 43′ Capricorn) then Saturn (March 31st at 0 39’Aquarius), inflaming the spread of the virus and triggering lockdowns.
On March 11th Covid-19 was declared a pandemic by The World Health Organisation. Here in the U.K, on March 23rd the U.K went into full lockdown, everything non-essential was closed and the nation was instructed to stay at home. By March 26th, 1.7 billion people worldwide were under some form of lockdown, which increased to 3.9 billion people by the first week of April – more than half of the world’s population (Wikipedia).
Mars retrograde, and the repeating squares he makes with the trio of planets still in a similar position in Capricorn, means unresolved, simmering, challenges and conflicts are likely to come to the boil and flare up.
The ongoing global pandemic and the chain of events so far, has contributed to revealing the vast, multitude of problems we face in society and the natural world – the earth and all her inhabitants. We are at a place where we can’t return to the past, it is obsolete, the problems, inequality and injustice it concealed are now becoming clear to all of us. But, the future is not here either, we are in between.
Richard Tarnas, who magnificently connects history with the angular position of the planets in Cosmos and Psyche, wrote that ~
“The successive alignments of the Saturn-Pluto cycle coincided with especially challenging historical periods marked by a pervasive quality of intense contraction; eras of international crisis and conflict, empowerment of reactionary forces and totilitarian impulses, organised violence and oppression, all sometimes marked by lasting traumatic effects” ~ Cosmos and Psyche, Intimations Of A New World View ~ Richard Tarnas
Jupiter-Pluto alignments bring extremes – both good and ill. Currently, the chasm between those in authority, in possesion of power and wealth (Jupiter-Pluto) and the rest of humanity is vast and expanding. The outbreak of Covid-19 has led to – the usually hidden in the shadows – fear of death and dying (Saturn-Pluto) to be collectively experienced as an immediate, threatning possibility. Triggering compassion, and the desire to protect each other. Instigating a willingness to comply with restrictions to our liberty, to make sacrifices to save lives.
Saturn-Pluto is also about learning essential lessons (Saturn) and transforming (Pluto) what is necessary. The trio of planets in Capricorn also symbolise all traditional institutions and power structures, governments, big business, banks and the police. How they use and abuse power – corruption and control – any detrimental, manipulative set-ups that need transforming.
Collectively Mars – the warrior – speaks of our individual rights, our personal choices, our survival instincts. As certain issues become impossible to ignore, and the prospect of others increasingly unsettling, activism and protests are likely to increase. Many more will start to question how much freedom they are willing to lose, and how much control they will tolerate.
Mars is calling attention to the power we all possess over our individual choices and actions. That we do, collectively, have influence over the world being created for future generations.
The opposition between the Sun and Mars on October 13th marks the halfway point of Mars retrograde, as well as the halfway point of the current Sun-Mars synodic cycle. The Sun-Mars cycle begins when the Sun and Mars are conjunct. At the conjunction a new 2 year impetus for action is put in motion. This current cycle started on September 2nd 2019 at 9 41′ Virgo, and ends/starts a new one, with the next Sun-Mars conjuction on October 8th 2021 at 15 05′ Libra.
Mars retrograde (Aries 15-29) indicates the area where momentum has slowed, and the opposition with the Sun illuminates the challenges to be overcome. At the Sun-Mars opposition clarity arrives around what is holding us back, bringing a new focus to the most beneficial action to take, what to re-do or adjust.
For more insight into what Mars retrograde is bringing to the fore for you personally, look at which house in your chart – which area of life – Aries 15-29 and Virgo 9-10 are located, as well as any personal planets placed there (conjunction) or in aspect (square/opposition/trine/sextile).
The Sun-Mars opposition brings valuable insights, but may also bring frustration as we face up to what is restricting us. We are more aware of what is unaligned, but as simultaneously Mercury is retrograde (October 14th-November 3rd) at this time, we could be unsure, still confused about how to proceed. As yet, we don’t have all the information, a piece of the puzzle is missing.
Mercury stations retrograde in Scorpio, before returning to Libra. Mars is retrograde in fiery Aries, but Scorpio is Mars’ other domicile home. Simplistically, Mercury is our thoughts, Mars our actions, with both retrograde in Mars ruled realms – the need to think deeply, carefully consider our options – before taking action, is essential to navigating the times ahead. We are at an important turning point – individually and collectively.
Mercury is direct on November 3rd, Mars is direct on November 14th. By early to mid-November we should have a better informed, wiser, view of what is out of balance, and how to direct our efforts to seek more advantageous results. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Attainable, potentially promising, remedies for issues we have been struggling with. From here we can begin to proceed forwards with more certainty and confidence.
Underlining the turning point – the shifts ahead – we then enter Eclipse season. The Scorpio New Moon on 15th November at 23 degrees is followed by –
- A Lunar Eclipse on November 30th at 8 38′ Gemini ~ Fixed Stars Aldebaran & Ain
- A Solar Eclipse on December 14th at 23 08′ Sagittarius ~ Fixed Star Ras Alhague
Eclipses are fated turning points. Eclipses can reveal what is over, what we need to move on from, as well as uncover new possibilities and opportunities. The North Node is in Gemini, the domicile of Mercury, and is considered to be exalted here. The North Node, brings a focus to information, knowledge, new perspectives and ideas. A re-evaluation of past approaches & beliefs (South Node in Sagittarius) that helps to define a way forwards (North Node in Gemini).
Top Image by Andre Fonseca on Unsplash